It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a baby. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be fairly uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all sorts of strange side effects. None of this detracts from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of drawbacks.
Pregnancy isn’t normally the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. So it may be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is somewhat prevalent. It’s not a bad idea to watch out for these symptoms. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-induced hearing loss is harmless and insignificant. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could call for swift medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how quickly you treat it.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. People usually don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond just turning up the volume on your devices, after all. Here are some of the most common:
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is often linked to pregnancy-induced hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some instances, sound like your own heartbeat which is known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.
- You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is likely the most apparent indication of hearing loss. But if it occurs suddenly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any type of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as you can. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might need emergency treatment.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some cases, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss might be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have an issue with your inner ear. And that also applies to pregnancy-related hearing loss.
None of these symptoms are necessarily universal. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but not others. Either way, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms may be an indication of a more serious concern.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, maybe, in some cases. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So, what are the possible causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you become pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. As a result, all kinds of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction called otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear start growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. In pregnant women, this faster bone growth may be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out just how much it impacts hearing.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be affected in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are issues that need to be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss could be hard to determine. Routinely consulting your doctor and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this type of hearing loss?
Treatment of this form of hearing loss will usually depend on the root cause. The question that many people have is: will my hearing return to normal? In most situations, yes, your hearing will return to normal once your pregnancy is over, or maybe even before.
But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you detect because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. You might need extra treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for example. The outcome will also depend on how fast you get treatment in the case of abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so important to be certain that you report these symptoms to your provider. The next step will most likely be a complete hearing assessment to rule out any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the root cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s essential to be sure you watch out for and protect your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Give us a call today to set up a hearing evaluation.